Saturday, August 30, 2008

Bridal Shower

(This post was first published August 30, 2006.)

Yesterday was my birthday, and I felt melancholy here and there throughout the day. It was my first since Mom passed away. Every birthday after I left home, Mother and Daddy would call me early in the morning and sing to me--most often the first greeting of the day.Today would have been my Mom and Dad's 65th wedding anniversary. I always felt special, being their "14th anniversary present.

"Mother had a "bride's book," which in no way resembles what we now call a "Wedding Album." Or even what my daughter and daughter-in-law had as a "wedding planner." Two-inch binders with places for cards, ribbons, and other mementos. Mother's was the size of one of those black "composition books," only about a quarter as thick, probably thirty pages or so. It is wonderful because it is handwritten by her--her own memories of her wedding.

She had a wedding shower. I notice that now we have several of them: kitchen, linen, personal, couples...she had *one*. She made quite a haul, mostly with linens. Several sets of "luncheon cloth and napkins"--those fabulous 1940's sets that we snatch up at antique stores. "Embroidered tea towels." "Embroidered pillowslips." Don't I wish I had them now? But, naturally, they were given and received in order to be used, and used UP. (I do have one of a pair of guest towels that she embroidered in the first year of her marriage--so threadbare, but it still says GUEST, with a garland of flowers all around.)

When we buy these vintage linens, we always think about the women who made them and used them. We'd love to feel the connection to another time. Women just like my mother, whose entry under "Our First Home," tells of how, after their wedding night, they just wanted to come home, so they "brought groceries home, and [she] fixed her first meal," the second night of their marriage.So much lay ahead for them--they were married months before Pearl Harbor. They were destined to raise only five of their thirteen children to adulthood. Two cancers. The everyday ups and downs plus the "added dose" of sorrow for their lives, could not be seen when she filled out her "bride's book."

We all share that, in this Sisterhood of women. So many hopes and dreams as we open those wedding shower gifts. Life moves along, humdrum or tragic, year by year. I am so grateful to our Lord that He gave my parents 64 years. A marriage in which their love grew more deeply as every anniversary rolled around. I had a model of How to Do Marriage Well that enabled me to choose a husband wisely, and to be an example for me, for 30 years so far, and is now the model for my children to follow. That is the inheritance I have from them. I would have loved to have the linens from that long-ago bridal shower, but I have the better gift in the example of their LIVES. That gift will never be "used up."

Friday, August 29, 2008

In Good Company

Today is my birthday!

Today is also John McCain's birthday.

Today is his running mate, Sarah Palin's, wedding anniversary.

I'm in fine company today.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Sunday, August 24, 2008


Thursday night, Johnny Tremain and Lily came for dinner with the children. We also had Blueberry and Oxford, because their parents Forget-me-not and Rocky Balboa were going out to celebrate their fourth wedding anniversary (congrats, guys!).
Of course, there was lots of noise and fun happening. At one point, Johnny asked, "where can I find a band-aid?" Thinking he was asking Lily or me, he (and all of us) was surprised when Sweet Pea answered, "in the bathroom, in the cupboard, behind the mirror." (medicine cabinet)
Have I mentioned that Sweet Pea turned two in May? That makes her two years and three months old. I'm sure she is still far away from the time she is supposed to be able to FOLLOW three-part directions. How old is the "norm" for GIVING three-part directions?
A budding genius, I'm sure. Yet, I know that it may be an anomaly, and may not happen again.
Till she's five or so, when she is "supposed" to be doing it. I guess nobody told her she wasn't "supposed" to know it yet!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Great Haul from the Sally

My friend Kay and I went to the Salvation Army, and there were a number of great things, which, being best buddies, we *hardly* argued over. (really, Kay deferred to me for "first pickin's".) First off, not one but Two wool blankets (don't you love the orchid plaid one?):
Next, a 35th anniversary plate, even tho' our 33rd anniversary is October. I can wait for two years to decorate with it, as it is my favorite color, Green:

(by the way, Kay took the 30th anniversary plate, because she celebrated hers last month.)
Here we have almost a yard of red velvet for 49 cents (for doll clothes), a vintage pj pattern for twenty cents, and a book of the letters of Thomas Jefferson (this is going to Violet, the presidential-letter buff):

And, my glory-find of the day: four vintage hankies from a woman with very sophisticated taste. These are not like any of my other hankies, which are mostly floral or lacy, and tend to pinks/greens/blues/yellows. Get a load of the Tans and Salmons:

These appliques are hand-done, with teeny-tiny stitches, of course:

Even tinier applique, and hand-hemming:

I see them as a sign of a slower, gentler time. Like darning socks or "turning" collars and cuffs. Or any kind of patching. I have done each of those, but certainly not on a regular basis. I think that is why we love to buy homely, useful things from a former time. It really gives us a sense of how these women lived. And we feel that "sisterhood" of women, who are the same as we are in so many ways. We are all nurturing our families, making a haven for our loved ones, and trying to fill our lives and homes with beauty. I love my role in civilization!

Monday, August 18, 2008


Well, you probably know that it is August 18th. The numerical equivalent of that, 818, is also our house number. And, if you're really *with it,* you realize that 8/18 appears twice during the day, at 8:18 am, and pm.

The first year we lived in this house, 16 years ago, my middle-schoolers noticed that the time came up on the VCR, 8:18, and made up a chant, "eight-eighteen [the time] ON eight-eighteen [the date] AT eight-eighteen [our house]." And, if you have children, you know how absolutely irritating any kind of chant can be. I was really, really glad when *that* day was over.

As the years went by, they made it a game--who would notice and let somebody else know?

As the children grew up and left home, they still made it a point to call me and their Dad, and each other. Cellphones are really good for this, because you only have one minute to make sure everybody has gotten a turn to play. And, if you happen to forget it in the morning, you still have the p.m. to play.

I was gone this morning, getting a tire fixed from a nail we picked up on vacation somewhere. Later I heard that Joe Hardy called three of his siblings. I was ready for the p.m. round--I got three of my kids called. Two others had to be at 8:19, but, at least I tried.

All of this isn't really of any importance at all, of course, unless you belong to our family. The reason I share it is to make a point about Family Culture--those things that are a part of Who We Are. And, how some of those things happen as a result of a fluke, never "planned" at all. I just think it is so cool that we are at 16 years and running. I wonder if the game will go on if we move to another house? Can't you just see my kids, in their 50's, calling each other up?

We are so cool.

Or, maybe just weird.

Surprise Side Trip

On the way home, we went through Port Huron, one of two places on the "thumb" of Michigan through which you can enter Canada. We hadn't told Blackeyed Susan and Alvin Fernald we had planned this (and "plan" you must... though they still take birth certificates for minors, and birth certificates and driver's licenses for adults), and they didn't know until we took the exit that said "Bridge to Canada."

It took about thirty minutes in line, to get through the border. Susan, especially, enjoyed all the Canadian flags:
Next in line--almost there:
We were really In Another Country:

The city on the other side of Port Huron, Michigan is Sarnia...not quite Narnia!

It was such fun to see lots of these:

Gasoline was "only" $1.25, which startled us until we figured out it was by-the-liter. However, multiply it by four, and you get $5.00. Don't know if that is more than a gallon, but we waited to get back over, to get gasoline, at our more-normal $3.81/gallon.
We ate at an Applebees-style restaurant, so the menu was fairly familiar. This, however, was a fun addition to our french-fries:

Glad to know I was served Canada's Favorite Ketchup.
Sarnia, for some reason, is not a tourist-y town, so we were having a difficult time finding anything that would pass for souvenirs. (so much for postcards for everybody--never found any.) We finally lighted in a Target-type store that was featuring Canadian Olympic stuff, so were able to get a few flags. I got a maple-leaf pin to wear on my jumpers. The kids got pj pants with Canada on them, and Alvin got a *Canada! Eh!* baseball cap. So, after spending all that time driving around Sarnia (pop. 76,000), and forty-five minutes on the bridge back to the U.S.A., we were really late. Charming got a frappucino, and was "hoping" to get home by 1 a.m. You might need to click on the photo to see the actual arrival time:

Ah. Home again! We grabbed our pillows and toiletry bag and crashed in our beds. (a little hoorah--my King Sized Bed. The cottage only had bunks and full-sized beds.) Yep, Dorothy Gale was right--there's No Place Like Home.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Beautiful Lake Huron

We were blessed to be able to go on a vacation last week to a cottage in Port Austin, Michigan. If you look at Michigan as a mitten, it is at the top of the "thumb," on Lake Huron.

Somehow, I got so relaxed that taking photographs didn't happen, for the most part. Here is one of Charming and Alvin Fernald, getting ready for a hike:
...and we did manage to get the "group" picture, sort of. Here is Charming's dad, and the four of us:
...and here is Charming's dad and his lovely wife Lynn, whose family owns the cottage we stayed at, as well as the year-round house next door:

Now, I *did* manage to get photos every night of the sunsets. They are so amazing, looking across the lake. There were biggie winds on Saturday night, (notice our faces blowing away) necessitating the use of three blankets in order to stay outside long enough for the sun to do its thing:

Oh, but it was so, So worth it.

I snuck a photo of Alvin skimming rocks on the beach, waiting for the sunset:

Every single night, the Lord put on a new *extravaganza*. I think this one was Wednesday night--going...



Living in a town, there is never enough horizon to see the entirety of a sunset. Up there, you can actually see the sun "slipping over" the edge. I can surely understand how the ancient people thought the sun god rode a chariot from east to west everyday. And even how people in the Middle Ages thought that the sun orbited the earth. Anyone just using their eyes and their common sense might think so. It is a great example of how, sometimes, Things Aren't As They Appear.
My favorite definition of "science" is Discovering what God has Already Done. How marvelous is the study of the history of science, as the Lord has allowed man to uncover, bit by bit, how His created world works.
We didn't swim much (temps in the 60's and very low 70's), but spent a lot of "lake-watching" time. Time to rest. Time to ponder. Time to wonder. Time for gratitude.
Time. What a great gift.
What a great God!

Thursday, August 07, 2008


Jewels at Eyes of Wonder has returned to Blogland!

If you did not know Jewels before (she quit blogging almost a year ago to give more attention to her family), you will want to visit her right away. She is the mother of a large family who has attained what so many of us want--a simple lifestyle. A life Lived Deliberately.

It will rest you just to visit, but besides that, she is a Titus 2 woman who shares her wisdom liberally. It is never a waste of time to stop by her place. Grab your "cuppa" and get on over there!

(I never took her link off my sidebar, hoping she would return...)

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Extra-Fun Day

We got to watch Blueberry and Oxford this morning for awhile. It seems that Blackeyed Susan wore Blueberry out. He fell asleep in the middle of the fun:
I got to feed Oxford his breakfast, then put him down for a nap. His being here reminded me that I never took a photo of his baby quilt. Here is Rainy Day Friends:
Blueberry helped Susan show off the cute-ducky flannel backing:

We got the boys unexpectedly, because Forget-me-not had been chosen to be in a panel-discussion at a local grocery which is getting a remodel. They wanted to know what the people who would actually be shopping there, needed in their "ideal" store. She spent two hours there, and they paid her $75.00. CASH.
Meanwhile, I'm trying to get ready to go on vacation. We had planned to leave Saturday morning, even tho' Charming's first day of vay-cay is Friday. Naturally, as the time has gotten closer, we decided to leave Friday instead. So, this chick who's biggest bugaboo is being Resistant to Change, is hyperventilating, trying to change gears. But I have my lists, and have got quite a bit of stuff goin' on. However, my Eeyore self will come to the forefront, and I can only see how much is Still Undone. And I can feel myself on the brink of Overwhelm-ment.
Take a breath. Go to bed. Tomorrow the lists will Work For You.
I think I can do this. Right?

Charming's Family Reunion

Warning: Post is photo-heavy. Proceed at your own risk:

First off, we have Forget-me-not and Baby Oxford, now five months old:
Here is Johnny Tremain, with Laura Carrot and Sweet Pea in Great-Grandma's pool:
Baby Cambridge snuggling up to Uncle Joe Hardy:

Blackeyed Susan and Tiny Dancer caught eating dessert:

A real treat: Charming's cousin Norman came, who Charming hasn't seen for years'n'years'n'years:

If you are married to a musician (or the mother of one), you know the Musician Face that they wear while they are In The Groove: (from left, our niece Jackie, Charming, and his best friend Mikey.)

Time for Charming's brother Matt to open his quilt. Here he is, checking out the squares:

A hug with the maker (ME!!!):

Junior Asparagus found a spider and an egg-sac inside Grandma's house. Several people tried to get a photo (I wanted one of Junior watching, but didn't get it), but at least I got one of "Charlotte:"

It was a wonderful, wonderful day. The weather was perfect, (so was the food--you know the family-reunion-thing), visiting was fantastic. My heart was very full by the end of the day. I think I got a photo of all of my kids, but the ones of Violet and Don Quixote weren't too good. It has been about ten years since all of my children have been at this reunion at the same time.
Good, good stuff. I love Family.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Busy, Busy Day

I finished this quilt, "just in time." It is for Charming's brother, who is coming in from New York City for Charming's family get-together tomorrow.
Most of the squares have a NYC theme, and I alternated them with nine-patch squares. The bright blue in the quilt is one of my favorite fabrics ever, ever, ever.

Today was Alvin's last day of baseball for the summer season. He is in the middle front, with the green batting helmet:
I made him come closer so I could get a better photo:

Johnny Tremain (left) came with two of my grandbabies. MacGuyver (right) came from Indy as a surprise for Alvin. He even made a t-shirt for Alvin with his name on it:

MacGuyver's girlfriend, Tiny Dancer, tossed a ball with Junior Asparagus. She is breaking in her brand-new mitt, which Mac bought on clearance at Wal-mart yesterday for...wait for it...Two Dollars. (gotta get me to Wallyworld...)

Sweet Pea stayed close by Grandma. She's wearing a Notre Dame cap as protection against the raindrops during the game:

After the game, awards were given. Alvin received the Silver Bat award for the highest batting average--a whopping .588! (so proud, here...) Then we all caravanned over to my Dad's nursing home for a visit. We finished our morning with lunch out, then home for some downtime.
I have finished my batch of potato salad for the reunion tomorrow, and found bathing suits, towels, and camp chairs. Tomorrow early, I will make an oatmeal cake (recipe to follow in a couple of days, Jennifer!) and we'll be off for the day to Charming's Mom's house. Another great-big-day, full of food, love, food, conversation, food, softball, swimming, music,!
See ya' later. Gotta get some sleep!